The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development submitted the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20 for Members’ consideration adding that this would be submitted to Council in May 2019, for approval. He explained that the Pay Policy Statement had been delayed this year, as a result of the NJC National Agreement and on-going negotiations with UNISON in relation to new pay structure. The Pay Policy Statement set out the current picture to 31 March 2020.
The Head of HR explained that the Statement supported the requirements under the Local Government Transparency Code and needed to be published annually, under Section 28 of the Localism Act 2011. The Head of HR explained the significant improvements in the pay position e.g. grades shorter and much less overlapping and more competitive salary ranges by consolidating the previous 2% local award and that 73% of applicable staff had agreed to the new pay scale arrangements when balloted by Unison.
Councillor P Ruffles sought and was provided with clarification on the 73% response rate from UNISON Members. It was noted that UNISON Membership had significantly increased during the pay structure negotiations, as staff wanted to comment on the proposed arrangement. The Head of HR explained that comprehensive information had been circulated to staff as part of the consultation process and that most of the concerns raised centred on the reduction of the redundancy multiplier and the length of time disturbance and pay protection would be paid. The compromise reached on these and other key points, was set out in the report.
The Head of HR and Organisational Development explained the changes to the UNISON arrangements following the departure of the former Branch Secretary. He provided an update in relation to the Chief Executive and Deputy posts which were negotiated under the JNC conditions of service and that that the payments to statutory posts i.e. Head of Paid Service, Section 151 and Monitoring Officers had increased to £10K.
The Head of HR and Organisational Development referred to the need to amend the Pay Policy Statement to reflect a change in the mileage rates for Electric Cars which HMRC had now established at 4p per mile. Councillor R Cheswright referred to the new HRMC rates for electric cars compared with the allowance for bicycles (20p per mile) adding that she felt this to be disproportionate. The Head of HR explained that running costs for electric cars were approximately 1p per mile but that the cost of buying an electric car prevented a lot of people from making the change. He referred to the charging points available in Hertford and in Bishop’s Stortford.
Members supported the revised mileage rate for electric vehicles (at 4p per mile) to accord with HMRC advisory levels to avoid P11ds or additional taxation. The Chairman also asked that promotional information on charging points be included within a future edition of the Members’ Information Bulletin and that consideration also be given to including information regarding authorised travel and subsistence costs within Members’ Induction Packs. This was supported.
Councillor M Stevenson sought and was provided with clarification regarding what staff, if any were staff employed on zero contract hours. The Head of HR explained that no staff were employed on zero contract hours but that there were a number of staff on casual contracts e.g at Hertford Theatre. Councillor M Stevenson sought and was provided with clarification regarding last year’s staff salaries. The Head of HR explained the position and undertook to provide Members with the information.
Members debated at length, the issue of fees and subscriptions paid by the Council on behalf of staff. The Head of HR explained that the Council now only paid for Lawyers’ Practicing Certificates. The Head of Legal and Democratic Services explained that the Council had four Lawyers and that there were currently two vacancies and that the Practicing Certificate fee was around £400.
The Committee approved the report, as amended.
It was moved by Councillor Cheswright and seconded by Councillor S Bull that the report, as amended, be approved. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that (A) the amended Pay Policy Statement be recommended to Council for approval;
(B) Promotional information on charging points be included with a future edition of the Members’ Information Bulletin; and
(C) Consideration be given to including information regarding authorised travel and subsistence costs within Members’ Induction Packs.